Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (66)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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A major public release of hacked emails sourced from Surkov and associates. New Russian fake news legislation passed – if applied rigorously the Chekist regime in its entirety, including the Duma, would end up behind bars. Debate over the isolation of Russia’s Internet continues. Many reports on Russia’s ongoing descent – will it become a bigger DPRK or Iran before it implodes?

Many reports on former Soviet republics, especially Belarus. By propaganda alone Muscovy appears to have poisoned its relations with Belarus almost as badly as with Ukraine.

Middle Eastern reports dominated by the covert and increasingly open war between Iran and Israel in Syria. Western media finally discover the Saudi component of the Hrim-2 / Thunder-2 TBM program – given this material has been sitting on Wikipedia for years, this reported“capability surprise” more than anything reflects upon the competencies of its authors. Updates on Syria and Turkey, and a very blunt OpEd by Dershowitz (who makes some very good points).

Far Eastern reporting dominated decisively by China, with many reports on PLA LO programs, the Huawei dispute and increasingly toxic relationship with Canada, home to large Chinese diaspora, another high profile diaspora dissident is “disappeared”, SCS and PLA growth, and surprisingly, Xi warns on “black swan” events threatening the over-extended economy and finance systems.

European reports dominated by Nordstream 2, UK, France, Germany, and Hungary, while Russia continues to meddle in Serbia.

Capability reports on tech and programs.

An excellent essay by Soros on the adverse impact of AI being used by autocratic regimes to suppress dissent and attack democracy. Buzzfeed’s bungle creates a lot of media debate.

US domestic reports dominated by the shutdown, and the Russia investigation.



 

NATO / EU / Russia Reports

 


 

Russia Deliberately Provokes US And Canada – To Inform is to Influence
Entering or flying close to another country’s airspace elicits a response from the county or, in this case, countries infringed upon. Russia deliberately flew into both US and Canadian airspace with a Tu-160 Blackjack, nuclear-capable, supersonic bomber. This is an absolutely deliberate provocation. </end editorial>
U.S. Official Accuses Russia Of Stonewalling On Missile Treaty Demands
Russia is unlikely to meet U.S. demands for more verification on a missile system Washington says has violated a key Cold War treaty, the lead U.S. negotiator on arms control issues said.
Russia-Nato Conflict: Moscow’s New Nuclear-Capable Missile Stokes Fear as Arms Treaty Falls Apart
Russia’s new missile “reduces the threshold” for the use of nuclear weapons, a NATO leader said.
Missile Pact In Danger, NATO Chief Says After Russia Talks
A meeting between NATO and Russian envoys has failed to resolve a dispute over a new Russian cruise missile that the alliance says is a threat to Europe, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg sai…
Russia refuses to dismantle new missile, triggering U.S. exit from weapons treaty – ThinkProgress
World War 3: Russia accuses US of amassing cache of DEADLY banned missiles | World | News | Express.co.uk
RUSSIA has accused Donald Trump’s US government of secretly building a new arsenal of banned missiles.
Russia’s Conventional Weapons Are Deadlier Than Its Nukes – Foreign Policy
Withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty would take the United States one step forward and many steps back on international security.
World War 3: China and Russia warn of an ‘arms race’ being sparked by Trump’s defence plan | World | News | Express.co.uk
CHINESE and Russian officials are warning of an arms race being sparked by Donald Trump’s new provocative missile defence plan.
Russia-NATO Council participants discuss Ukraine, missile treaty without making any progress – Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that at the Russia-NATO Council meeting on Friday the sides discussed the situation in Ukraine, as well as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
How to Defeat Hybrid Warfare Before It Starts – Defense One
A well-governed society is a resilient society.
RIP RAF?: One-Third of Britain’s Air Force Can’t Fly | The National Interest
One-third of Britain’s military aircraft isn’t available to fly, according to British media.
Finland scrambles fighter jets to intercept Russian aircraft – Defence Blog
Finnish Air Force F/A-18 fighter jets intercepted two Russian Air Force Sukhoi SU-27 fighters approaching Finland’s airspace on 24 January. According to a statement, a Finnish Air Force F/A-18 was scrambled to intercept two Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 fighters in international airspace above the Gulf of Finland on Thursday 24th January at around 11:30 am. As a territorial surveillance authority of Finland, the Finnish Air Force has ordered its F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters on Quick-Reaction Alert (ORA) duty to identify and photograph the Russian military aircraft observed in the international airspace in the vicinity of Finland’s airspace. Also noted that the airspace of Finland was not violated.
Poland orders four S-70i Black Hawk helicopters – Defence Blog
Poland has ordered 4 Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk medium-lift helicopters for its Special Forces. The Polish Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on its website on 24 January that Poland-based PZL Mielec, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, has been awarded $180 million contract for four S-70i Black Hawk medium-lift helicopters. It is expected that deliveries of helicopters to Polish Special Forces will commence in December 2019. The S-70i helicopter is the latest addition to Black Hawk proud lineage of multi-mission aircraft that continues to serve 32 nations around the world. Ruggedly dependable and ready to respond, the helicopter has established itself as the right aircraft for any mission that requires success, everywhere… every time. The modern S-70i helicopter incorporates advancements that connect this remarkable aircraft into the fast-pace, digital-information world that exists today. The S-70i Black Hawk helicopter has a maximum gross weight of 9,979kg. It can carry two crew members and up to 13 troops. The S-70i Black Hawk is powered by two T700-GE701D turboshaft engines equipped with C controls. Each engine develops a maximum power of 1,447kW. The twin-engine power plant drives the main rotor comprising of four composite-titanium blades.
Greece Ratifies Historic Accord With Macedonia Amid Protests – WSJ
Greece ratified a U.S.-backed deal with Macedonia that aims to help stabilize the Balkan region but is polarizing Greek society.
Macedonia and Greece: Vote settles 27-year name dispute – BBC News
Greece’s parliament narrowly backs an unpopular deal to rename its neighbour North Macedonia.
Michael Rühle | Imagining a World Without NATO
NATO never had it easy. From the day the Washington Treaty was signed, when the Washington Post quipped that the ceremony might be “more spectacular than the act itself,” observers have been skeptical about the viability of the Alliance. In 1982, at the peak of the “Euro-missile crisis,” the Economist saw the Atlantic Alliance “in the early stages of what could be a terminal illness.” In 1994, when the Allies were hesitating to get involved in the Balkans conflict, the director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies argued that NATO was in terminal decline and probably would not even reach the end of the decade. Again, in 2002, when the Allies disagreed on whether to join the United States in trying to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, some lamented “the end of Atlanticism.” The Cassandras always got it wrong. For one, they misunderstood political debate as a sign of NATO fatigue, not realizing that tackling difficult policy issues and ironing out disagreements is one of the most basic functions of an alliance. They also mistook debate about the future course of the Alliance for disagreement over its fundamental value. Times change, however, and so do attitudes. Today, the European Union struggles with numerous crises, from “Brexit” to burgeoning nationalism. Formats like the Group of Seven (G-7) no longer seem to generate the common leadership on global issues that Western nations sought to exert for many decades. Moreover, the notion that even the venerable NATO alliance may well be dispensable is no longer confined to the “usual suspects” from academia or the wilder shores of isolationism. Some Western policy makers today seem perfectly capable of imagining a world without NATO as well as without the European Union (EU). What would a world without NATO look like? It is a useful question to ask. For the end of NATO would mean far more than merely the disappearance of a bureaucracy at the outskirts of Brussels. The end of NATO would mean the end of a unique institutionalized political and military link between Europe and North America – with consequences that range from merely uncomfortable to outright dangerous. The end of NATO would be the end of transatlantic collective defense. Europe would have to provide for its security without the United States. Establishing a purely European defense, however, would overwhelm the Europeans politically, financially, and militarily. Not only would it require significantly higher defense expenditures, but also massive investments in defense research and development and much more rationalized defense procurement – just when the United Kingdom, Europe’s biggest defense player, is distancing itself from the EU. It would ultimately require a genuine European security policy, including a consensus on a European nuclear deterrent. In short, it would require a quantum leap in the process of European integration that is utterly unrealistic. At the same time, the end of NATO would dramatically increase Russia’s weight and influence in European security. Without the American commitment to the old continent, the opportunities for Russia to divide and marginalize Europe would grow. This would be a strategic disaster in particular for many countries in the post-Soviet space, who would be condemned, once again, to fall within Russia’s sphere of influence. With the end of NATO, Europe and North America would also lose an important framework for legitimizing the collective use of military power. Ambitious long-term stabilization operations like the one in Afghanistan are only possible in a transatlantic context. While ad hoc military coalitions between the United States and some European states would still be possible, the end of joint military planning and regular exercising within NATO would rapidly downgrade military interoperability. The end of NATO would also encourage a regionalization of European security. Without the Alliance as a strategic framework for balancing different regional concerns, Southern European nations would likely concentrate on the Maghreb and the Middle East, while Eastern European states would focus on Russia. None of these regional groupings, however, would be politically coherent and militarily powerful enough to exert decisive influence in these areas. The result would be a further weakening of European security. By contrast, the end of NATO would not achieve what some may hope for: to free the United States of a major financial burden. Since the US defense budget reflects the country’s global reach, the end of NATO would provide only marginal savings. By ceding its role as a “European power,” however, the United States would not only lose strategically important military bases on the old continent, but also its political influence in European security affairs, and the stability generated through daily consultations with its NATO Allies. The geopolitical winners would be Russia, China, and all those who seek to weaken the role of the United States in upholding international order. This would not just be a bad deal, a term that is now increasingly used in international relations. It would be an awful deal. Michael Rühle heads the Energy Security Section of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division. Previously, he served as a speechwriter for six NATO Secretaries General. The views expressed are his own.
Melinda Haring | Trump Doesn’t Have to Quit NATO to Undermine It, Expert Warns
On January 14, the New York Times confirmed that President Donald Trump talked about pulling out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization more than once in 2018. But can the president quit NATO unilaterally? “I think the short answer is yes,” said Alexander Vershbow, a former Deputy Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, in an interview on January 16. The US Constitution says that the Senate should give its advice and consent on treaties, but it is silent on withdrawing from treaties. However, it’s not as easy as Trump standing up and declaring that the United States is no longer a member. Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, told ABC News that Article 13 of the NATO treaty complicates things. It requires any member who wants to leave to give a one year notice to the United States before doing so. “The reality is President Trump would have a revolt on his hands,” Wilson said, since the Senate strongly supports NATO and reaffirmed its commitment to the organization in a resolution last year. However, said Vershbow, “He could disengage in many ways from NATO even if we remained formally a member. That could be just as damaging to the cohesion, effectiveness, and credibility of the alliance.” Trump could pull US troops out of Europe, stop US participation in NATO missions like Afghanistan, and withdraw its missile defense shield, for example. Vershbow said there are grounds to be nervous. It’s no secret that Trump doesn’t like alliances and thinks the United States is paying too much and not getting enough in return from NATO. Plus, Trump has taken radical steps before. After the Singapore summit in June 2018, Trump unilaterally suspended the annual US-South Korean exercises without getting anything in return from North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Trump might try to quit NATO, but Vershbow said one has to hope that the president will listen to his current circle of advisors, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who are Atlanticists, though they are less likely to contradict the president than former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. If Trump pulled out of NATO, “[Europe] would be way in over its head,” Vershbow said. It wouldn’t be able to provide for its common defense and might be more vulnerable to Russian destabilization tactics as well. Moreover, it’s wrong to look at NATO membership as something that only benefits the Europeans. “NATO has always been and remains a net contributor to US security. It’s not an act of charity that we provide to the European allies or Canada,” Vershbow said. “The lessons of World War I remain valid and US disengagement from Europe ultimately increases the risks of instability and conflict.” Plus, the US benefits from a peaceful Europe. “We would probably be undermining our own economic future by casting Europe adrift.” The former diplomat also worries about the demoralizing message that the US quitting or downgrading its commitment to NATO would send to aspiring members like Ukraine and Georgia. He thinks they would be far more likely to give into Russian pressure and efforts to reestablish dominance over them. Polling shows strong support for NATO. In 2017, 62 percent of Americans held a favorable view of NATO. “NATO works. It’s relatively cheap in terms of the overall share of the budget that the United States pays,” Vershbow said. “If we pulled out of NATO, it would be difficult to reinvent anything anywhere near as effective or cost effective for US security.” Melinda Haring is the editor of the UkraineAlert blog at the Atlantic Council and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. She tweets @melindaharing.


Dina Khapaeva | Putin and the Apocalypse by Dina Khapaeva – Project Syndicate
Over the last year, Russia’s president has spoken about a “nuclear apocalypse” more than any Western leader has over the last decade, causing some to speculate that he may be threatening NATO and the US. But Putin’s invocation of religious language suggests that his nuclear warnings may actually have little to do with the West.
Dina Khapaeva | Putin and the Apocalypse  – Asia Times
While getting the West’s attention may please Putin, apocalyptic rhetoric in Russia is closely related to positioning Putin as a kind of messiah, and Prokhanov is hardly the only public figure happy to reinforce that portrayal. In his 2007 novel The Apocalypse of Vladimir, television journalist Vladimir Solovyov calls Putin “the czar and the prophet,” whose mission is to prepare Russia for the Last Judgment. Vladimir the Apostle, the book’s first-person narrator, destroys thousands of “sinners,” including the entire city of Krasnoyarsk, by burning them alive. Tellingly, Vladimir the Apostle reflects that the “sinners” who were left with no time to repent “just croaked.” For Solovyov, preparing for the “long-awaited and bright day of the Last Judgment” requires Russia to introduce hereditary “antidemocratic monarchy,” with Putin as its czar. This view aligns with that of other rank-and-file Orthodox believers. One sect’s followers believe that Putin is a reincarnation of the early Christian missionary Paul the Apostle. The sect’s founder, who calls herself Mother Fotina, trusts that “God has appointed Putin to Russia to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ,” because he “has the spirit of a czar in him.” Alexander Dugin, the leader of the Eurasia movement and arguably the Kremlin’s chief ideologist, calls Putin katechon, an Orthodox leader who prevents the “kingdom of the Antichrist,” which he defines as a combination of Western “globalization, post-liberalism, and post-industrial society.” Yet far from wanting to avert the Apocalypse, Dugin wants the Eurasian movement to help bring it about. As a panelist on a Russian radio program recently put it, “The contemporary world, like the Middle Ages, is longing for the Apocalypse,” because “the world without the Apocalypse is boring beyond belief.” In recent months, popular support for Putin in Russia has declined sharply, with his approval rating falling from over 76% to 66% in the second half of last year. At the same time, a kind of neo-medieval thinking, focused on the restoration of autocratic monarchy and the supremacy of the Orthodox Church, has been gaining prominence in Russia. Putin’s fire-and-brimstone rhetoric may actually reflect the mindset of these fundamentalists, who view nukes as a “practical solution” to the world’s problems. Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed the quote in the third-last paragraph beginning “The contemporary world….” It has been amended by Project Syndicate. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2019. www.project-syndicate.org
UAWire – Tokyo rejects Putin’s proposal to increase trade between Russia and Japan to $30 billion
Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposal made to increase trade between Russia and Japan to $30 billion made to Japanese Prime Minister …
Oleh Bielokolos | Why Russia once again picks up on the issue of the Kuril Islands | UNIAN
Recently, the ex-leader of the “DPR” Igor Strikov (aka Girkin) spoke against the possible transfer to Japan of the group of the Southern Kuril Islands and announced his intention to set up mass protests in Moscow on January 19-20. I don’t believe that his words in this context have any independent significance, because his very figure as a factor of politics is nonsense and commenting on its statements is not worthwhile. In fact, the problem in the context of Russian-Japanese relations is much wider. Since World War 2, Japan has been trying to return under its jurisdiction the four islands of the Kuril ridge: Ithurup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai, which the USSR grabbed back in the day. And because of this fact, a peace treaty between Japan and Russia was never signed. In November last year, reports emerged stating that Japanese Prime Minister Sinzo Abe seems to be trying to accelerate talks with Russia on a pair of islands of the Kuril Archipelago – Habomai and Shikotan. At the same time, he allegedly promised Russian President Vladimir Putin that, in case of the transfer of these islands to Japan, no U.S. military bases will be set up there. I don’t believe that his words in this context have any independent significance, because his very figure as a factor of politics is nonsense and commenting on its statements is not worthwhile In particular, it is the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia literally summoned Japanese Ambassador Toyohisa Kodzuki that deserves attention. Russia complained that, in his statements, he distorts the arrangements reached between the two countries at the highest level concerning the Kuril Islands. Nevertheless, any hopes for some kind of warming in relations between the two states, as well as on the solution of Russia’s territorial issues, seem unlikely. After all, Japan today, at least in terms of security, almost completely relies on the United States – a strong military alliance exists between Tokyo and Washington. And because of this, most of Japan’s establishment is equally skeptical about any possible arrangements between Russia and Japan. Besides, in recent years, Russia’s attention to the Arctic and the Far East has only increased, which is why the military bases, forgotten in Soviet times, are being restored there, and Russia is spending huge amounts on them. Nevertheless, the hopes for some kind of warming in relations between the two countries, as well as on the solution of Russia’s territorial issues, seem unlikely. After all, Japan today, at least in terms of security, almost completely relies on the United States But in general, given the results of Russia’s last year’s foreign policy, we can say that Moscow has lost its initiative. First of all, it was the scandal with former Colonel GRU Sergei Skripal who was poisoned with “Novichok” nerve agent in British Salisbury that contributed to this. After Russia’s involvement was established, it actually blocked any efforts by the Kremlin to reset dialogue with the West. Russia’s policy, first and foremost, is about sowing chaos in U.S. foreign policy in the Far East. And Russia is pumping up its efforts at this very moment, when the U.S. sees the region as truly important, because the second possible meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which doesn’t make Putin happy, has recently been discussed quite actively. Against the background of the fact that Russian euphoria over the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea has long gone, Vladimir Putin, as the orchestrator of the aggressor state’s foreign policy, has obviously tasked his subordinates with seeking new opportunities in the international arena, including, aimed at weakening the United States and changing positions in the Far East. Oleh Bielokolos is a head of Department for International Bilateral Relations at the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation
New Russian stealthy unmanned strike aircraft spotted in Novosibirsk – Defence Blog
A stealthy unmanned strike aircraft that appeared to be a new Russian Okhotnik (Hunter) unmanned air combat vehicle has been spotted in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. At the facility of the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPO) plant were spotted Russian advanced strike aircraft. A new, stealthy unmanned strike aircraft now undergoing runway testing at NAPO in Novosibirsk. According to a local source, The Okhotnik’s successfully restrained ground run test operations marks a major milestone ahead of the first flight, which is expected in early 2019. Russian state media stated that a contract on developing the stealthy unmanned strike aircraft Okhotnik weighing 20 tonnes was signed between Russia’s Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Aircraft Company in 2011. “The work on the heavy long-range unmanned aerial vehicle is at the concluding stage. In particular, work has been completed to create a prototype that will begin test flights this year,” the TASS reported. “The work is being carried out at the Novosibirsk-based Chkalov Aviation Plant (part of the Sukhoi Aircraft Company),” the source added. The new Russian Okhotnik stealthy unmanned strike aircraft has a “flying wing” shape, making it similar to the American RQ-170 stealth reconnaissance drone or Chinese Tian Ying. According to Popular Mechanics, it is expected that Okhotnik will be made of composite materials and the exterior features an anti-radar coating. All of this work to make the Hunter invisible to radar means it will store precision-guided bombs and missiles internally, to avoid compromising its radar signal with weapons hanging off the belly and wings
Russian Tu-22M3 bomber crash: preliminary report gives details – Defence Blog
Russian military preliminary report on their investigation into T-22M3 strike bomber crash was apparently leaked online today. Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 strike bomber (35 Red / RF-94159), carrying four crew members, has crashed at 13:40 p.m. (Moscow time) in Russia’s northwestern region of Murmansk, according to an initial report. The accident occurred as the long-range bomber was attempting to land at Olenegorsk airfield, aircraft caught fire and was destroyed. Of the four crew members, two were injured and were transported to a medical facility to receive assistance whereas two were killed. Preliminary results of the military investigation said the cause of the accident is a piloting error. Tu-22M3 bomber’s crew allowed landing with increased load.

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

Activist Group Publishes ‘Hacked E-Mails’ From Russia
A self-described “transparency collective” has released a massive trove of hacked e-mails and leaked documents from what it describes as “Russian politicians, journalists, oligarchs, [and] religious, and social figures.” The materials were published online on January 25 by a group calling itself Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDOS), which says it is “aimed at enabling the free transmission of data in the public interest.” The co-founder of the group, U.S. journalist Emma Best, said the materials would include various archives of hacked and leaked materials related to Russia that have been difficult for researchers to locate, the Daily Beast reported on January 25. The group’s website would bring together these materials into one location online, Best said. A day before the release, Best, a transparency activist focusing on national-security matters, told RFE/RL that some of the documents slated for release had not “previously” been found by the group. “The rest is rather obscure and largely unknown or forgotten,” Best said. “We can’t certify that any portion of it has never been released, though,” Best added. Numerous batches of private e-mails and documents from Russian officials and businessman have been published online in recent years, including those purportedly from the e-mail account of senior Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov. Ukrainian hackers claimed responsibility for an alleged 2016 hack of Surkov’s e-mail account, the contents of which appeared to show his office’s involvement with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin at the time did not explicitly say that the contents of those materials were fraudulent but suggested they may have been forged. DDOS said the documents it released on January 25 included materials from “nationalists,” “separatists,” and “terrorists” operating in Ukraine.
Transparency advocate group releases trove of hacked Russian documents | TheHill
A group of transparency advocates released a massive number of hacked and leaked Russian documents on Friday in what is being viewed as retaliation against Russia’s sharing of hacked Democratic National Committee
Huge Trove of Leaked Russian Documents Is Published by Transparency Advocates – The New York Times
Files and messages on Russia’s war in Ukraine, the business dealings of oligarchs and other issues were published online by a group called Distributed Denial of Secrets.
UAWire – Russian Parliament approves draft law introducing punishment for disseminating fake news
Thursday, January 24, Russian State Duma approved four draft laws  in the first reading. Among them were the laws on disseminating fake news, on …
Russian Lawmakers Pass Bills On ‘Fake News,’ Offending Authorities In First Reading
Russian lawmakers have given tentative approval to bills prohibiting the spread of fake news online and punishing those who insult authorities with jail terms of up to 15 days, in measures the oppo…
Duma deputies want the author of Russia’s latest draconian Internet legislation to present it in person. He refuses. — Meduza
The State Duma Council says Senator Andrey Klishas, who heads the Federation Council’s Legislation Committee, should personally present the first readings of legislation he helped draft that would prohibit online insults against state officials and the publication of “fake news.” (Under the former law, offenders would face up to 15 days in jail. Media outlets and individuals who violate the latter law, meanwhile, would be subject to fines.)
UAWire – Kremlin sees no obstacles for ‘sovereign internet’ in Russia
The Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media or MinComSvyaz “sees no obstacles” for the draft law on “sovereign …


UAWire – Russian state high-tech investment fund caught taking taxpayer money offshore
Rosinfokominvest, the Russian State Investment Fund for Information and Communication Technologies, established in 2007 to modernize the Russian economy, has financed only one project in the more than 10 years of its existence – a scheme to take taxpayer money out the country. This was the conclusion reached by Russia’s Accounts Chamber after an audit of how the budget funds allocated to the company have been used. According to the fund’s business plan from 2007, after receiving 1.45 billion from the government, it was supposed to invest approximately 1.2 billion in 14 projects, and then sell shares to investors and give the money back to the budget. The fund was also expected to pay annual taxes, contributing 813 million rubles to the treasury over 10 years. In reality, the fund has implemented only one 148 million ruble project – RoboETF, a platform for launching exchange traded funds and robo-advising (automated advice for investors). “In actual fact, 98% of the authorized capital of the established JSC Roboinvest was transferred to the account of a company registered in the Cayman Islands, which has neither employees nor managers,” the Accounts Chamber reports.
Russian Wartime Comedy Pulled From YouTube
A controversial Russian film set during the World War II-era blockade of Leningrad has been removed from the video-hosting site YouTube.
Russian Court Orders House Arrest For Activist Charged Under ‘Undesirable’ Law
A Russian court has ordered nearly two months of house arrest for an activist affiliated with а civil society group founded by former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Muscovites Commemorate Slain Lawyer And Journalist
Several hundred people marched in central Moscow on January 19 to honor human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were gunned down in the Russian capital 10 years ago. Markelov and Baburova, who were known for crusading against ultranationalist violence, were shot dead in broad daylight near the Kremlin in 2009. In 2011, a Russian court handed down long prison sentences to two members of a neo-Nazi group for the killings.
Hundreds In Moscow Commemorate Slain Lawyer And Journalist
Several hundred people marched in central Moscow on January 19 to honor human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were gunned down in Moscow ten years ago.
HRW: Russian Activist’s Criminal Prosecution A ‘Blatant Attack’ On Freedom Of Association
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called the criminal prosecution of a Russian activist affiliated with the Open Russia civic movement as a “blatant attack on freedom of association in Russia.”
A Chechen Court Ruled To Forgive $100 Million Of Citizens’ Gas Debts. Gazprom Isn’t Happy
A Chechen court has ruled in favor of writing off more than $100 million in gas debt over fears of possible “social unrest.” Gazprom is challenging it. Will other regions follow suit?
Schoolchildren Fainting From Hunger More Frequently, Russian Ombudsman Says
A regional Russian ombudsman says a growing number of children have been fainting from hunger at school, suggesting that they cannot afford to buy lunch.
UAWire – Head of Russian national rating agency fired for pessimistic views
Yekaterina Trofimova will be stepping down from her position as the head of ACRA, the largest national rating agency in Russia that was founded …
Three Russian Soldiers Killed In Abkhazia Crash
Three Russian servicemen were killed in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia on January 21 when their armored personnel carrier (APC) tumbled into a gorge, Russian military officials said.
Authorities Investigating E-Mail Terror Threats In Magnitogorsk
A number of organizations in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk have received anonymous e-mails warning of possible terrorist acts, local media have reported.
Interfax Reports Aeroflot Passenger Demands Plane Fly To Afghanistan
An unconfirmed report from the Interfax news agency says that a passenger on an Aeroflot flight from the Siberian city of Surgut to Moscow demanded that the plane travel to Afghanistan instead.
UAWire – Chechnya’s gas debts baffle Kremlin
Russia’s senior leaders are still unsure how to respond publicly to the incident in Chechnya where the Grozny District Court ruled to write off …
Dance Artist Moved By ‘Horrifying’ LGBT Torture In Chechnya
Bulgarian-born Kosta Karakashyan was so moved by “horrifying” stories of torture against the LGBT community in Chechnya, that he is using dance to express their suffering in a new film.
Russian Anti-Doping Agency Avoids New Punishment Over Missing Deadline
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) remains compliant and will face no new penalties for delaying access to data from its Moscow laboratory, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) says.
Drunk Russian Man Detained After Failed Attempt To Hijack Plane Mid-Flight | HuffPost
Aeroflot SU1515 made an emergency landing in Siberia on Tuesday after a passenger claiming to be armed tried to break into the cockpit.
Russian Aeroflot flight diverted after suspected hijacking, demand for flight be diverted to Afghanistan | Fox News
A Russian airline flight to Moscow was forced to divert to another airport after take-off after a suspected hijacking on Tuesday, according to officials.
Probe Launched After Russian ‘Bandits’ Lecture Kids On Homosexuality And Thug Life
Several alleged criminals were invited to a school in Russia’s Far East to warn boys about the dangers of same-sex relations. Now the school’s under investigation.
Three Accused Of Killing 97-Year-Old Russian WWII Veteran
Russian authorities have arrested three men on suspicion of beating a 97-year-old World War II veteran to death while robbing the home where she lived alone.
Locals ‘Cough Up A Lung’ As Toxic Cloud Hangs Over Russian Town
Residents in the Russian town of Sibay say they are suffering respiratory problems from clouds of sulfur dioxide that are billowing from an old copper quarry.
The Avalanche Blasters
With a burst of flames and a boom that roars down the valley — a 1950s howitzer blasts holes in the snow to prevent avalanches on Europe’s highest peak, the 5,642 meter Mt. Elbrus in Russia’s Caucasus Mountains.
Siberian Valenki Maker Fills Dead Men’s Shoes
Ivan Plakhuta lives in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk and makes traditional felt boots or valenki. He says many of the old makers, from whom he learned his craft, have died, but says demand for his boots remains strong.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

RUSSIA : Kremlin retools Russian intelligence apparatus in Armenia
Shaken up by events in its traditional fief of Armenia, the Kremlin has replaced its people in Yerevan in the wake of the protests that shook the country last April.
UAWire – Russia prepares a trial batch of new AK-12 for Armenia
In an interview with Kommersant, Vladimir Dmitriev, the head of the Kalashnikov concern stated that a contract was signed with Armenia, for the …
Georgians, God, and Grapes: Life In South Ossetia
Ethnic Georgians and Ossetians have lived side-by-side for centuries in South Ossetia. Their cultures are similar, and both value hospitality and share a love of long feasts. But relations became …
Thousands Rally In Baku Calling For Release Of Political Prisoners
Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of the Azerbaijani capital to call for the release of a jailed anticorruption blogger and other people they consider political prisoners.
Putin To Visit Kyrgyzstan This Year
The Kremlin has confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to visit Kyrgyzstan, but no clear date has been set.
Kazakhs Outraged Over Killing Of Wildlife Ranger Who Pursued Saiga Poachers
Kazakh authorities are hunting for three poachers, including one who is alleged to have fatally beaten a wildlife ranger in what is a rare occurrence in Kazakhstan.

Belarus Reports

 


 

UAWire – Russia begins revision of Union treaty with Belarus
Moscow has started to revise its treaty from 1999 which established the Union State with Belarus. The work is being done as part of the …
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Belarusian Nationalism has Strengths as Well as Weaknesses, Experts Say
Paul Goble Staunton, January 18 – It is generally accepted by most observers of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet space that Belarusian nationalism and Belarusian national identity are far weaker than their counterparts in neighboring countries, but there is seldom much reflection on why this appears to be the case and what it means for the future. The absence of such consideration has opened the way for Russians to claim and many elsewhere to accept that Belarusians are in Engels’ term, an “ahistorical” nation that is fated to be part of another state nation, in this case the Russian, because it has not articulated a nation or achieved statehood on its own. In fact, many of the assumptions underlying this accepted evaluation of Belarusian nationalism and Belarusian national identity are highly problematic, as a careful consideration of the history of the nation and state there shows. And at a time when some are talking casually about the annexation of Belarus by Russia, it is important to be clear about that. The Poland-based Belarusian radio and web portal, Belsat, asked four leading specialists on Belarusian national identity for their views on the history of Belarusian identity and nationalism, views that have been summarized in a useful way by the Belarus Partisan website (belaruspartisan.by/politic/450889/). Valery Bulgakov, editor of Arche and author of The History of Belarusian Nationalism, argues that Belarusian national nationalism emerged later than its counterparts in neighboring countries. Specifically, he says, it lagged behind Ukraine’s by 50 to 60 years. It is not radically different than theirs but just simply at an earlier stage of development. Pavel Tereshkovich, an ethnographer and author of The Ethnic History of Belarus of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries, disagrees. It isn’t when a national movement begins that matters but rather whether there has been sufficient modernization to support it. Belarus lagged in that regard and lacked the literate population that supported nationalisms elsewhere. Modernization, he says, “is closely linked with the level of literacy” and “a national movement rests on the printing press – newspapers and journals.” Estonia raced ahead because at the end of the 19th century, 80 percent of its population was literate, while in Belarus, only 13 percent was. “Every people had national elites which developed national slogans and an ideology,” Tereshkovich continues. “But what is needed is an audience capable of accepting them.” Estonia and the others had that audience; Belarus at that time did not. Per Anders Rudling, a professor at the University of Lund in Sweden and author of The Rise and Fall of Belarusian Nationalism, 1906-1931, has a slightly different take than either of these. He agrees that literacy matters and notes that among the Orthodox of Belarus, it was lower than among their Catholic counterparts. Given the contest between Polish and Russian nationalism, that played a part in how Belarusian nationalism developed and why Russian officials viewed Belarusian nationalism not as a self-standing phenomenon but as a Polish attack on Great Russian identity and the unity of the state. Belarusian projects for the construction of the nation are “very different from Polish, Ukrainian, and Lithuanian nationalism because they were influenced from both the east and the west,” from Russia and from Poland. Had it been otherwise, Rudling argues, Belarusian national identity and nationalism would have been different as well. And Aleksey Lastovsky, a sociologist at Polotsk State University, roots the weakness of Belarusian identity and nationalism in its lagging economic development. “We did not have a really developed industry,” he says. “Where there is no industry, there are no cities and no sufficient education.” Another factor, he argues, is that Belarusians historically did not have the basis for distancing themselves from Russian consciousness that others did. Lithuanians had a state tradition and a language that set them apart, neither of which Belarusians could rely on to the same degree. Lastovsky says that there is one advantage that Belarusians have because their national movement arose later: This “gave them the opportunity to learn from others. The Belarusian national movement has borrowed definite models from the Poles and the Czechs” and been the better for it. We Belarusians, he says, “found ourselves between two highly-cultured and politically-aggressive projects, Polish and Russia and were forced to try to escape from their tight embrace.” That has limited development but it has also had a very positive set of consequences. “Belarusians have been able to create a very inclusive model of nationalism which include in itself all who live on this territory.” And as a result, Belarusian identity and nationalism have “the lowest percentage of chauvinism in comparison with West European nationalisms.” That is something to build on.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Belarusians and Russians Aren’t One People and Nothing will Change That, Nikitenko Says
Paul Goble Staunton, January 19 – Belsat has reposted a commentary by Russian blogger Viktor Nikitenko to make a point that should not have to be argued but that must be because Vladimir Putin and so many people in Russia and the West think otherwise: Belarusians and Russians aren’t one people and no political arrangements will change that. Nikitenko posted on Facebook his observations about the differences between the two nations in 2017 (facebook.com/nikitsenka/posts/1356812907765305?_rdc=2&_rdr); but as the editors of Belsat say in reposting them now, they may be even more important now than they were then (charter97.org/ru/news/2019/1/18/320412/). The blogger stresses that what he argues reflects his personal observations and experiences rather than “doubtful texts from thick books about the history of the appearance of the two peoples.” Such observations and experiences are far more important for an understanding of how members of each actually behave. “The chief facto distinguishing a Russian from a Belarusian,” Nikitenko says, “is the powerful emotionalism of the former and in addition his maximalism and extremes in judgement.” The Belarusian in this sense is “the antipode of the Russian: he is pragmatic, quiet,, doesn’t like extremes, and seldom gives way to radical changes in his point of view. Russians are far more inclined that Russians to following ideas and slogans blindly without considering where they are headed. Belarusians, in contrast, are skeptical about all such ideas and slogans and seldom change, being deeply conservative and as such suspicious not only of other ideas but often of other people. The two people do share a tendency to deify their leaders, but even in this regard, the blogger says, there are important differences: the Russian is “an anarchic and unstable” worshipper of power; the Belarusian in contrast tends to give his loyalty more slowly and give it up more slowly as well – another aspect of his conservatism. “Russians,” Nikitenko says, “very much love to destroy everything old and build on the ruins something new and are inclined to adventurism and a revolutionary method of solving problems.” Belarusians are more inclined to stick with what they know even if they are unhappy with it. “It is a mistake to say that laziness and slavery came to Belarus and Russia from Muscovy,” the blogger observes. The personal qualities of reserve and suspiciousness among Belarusians came not from Moscow but from neighboring Baltic nations, known for their phlegmatic approach. “Submissiveness, fear of truth, and latent xenophobia are the foundation on which autocratic power in Belarus is built. Infantalism dominates the personality of the Belarus and is immanent,” something Belarusians often try to conceal by engaging in xenophobia,” Nikitenko argues. These various differences are so profound, he continues, that it is ridiculous to talk about Belarusians and Russians being one people. They “never were but simply lived under one big occupation roof. The myth of unity was dreamed up by the Bolsheviks who didn’t focus on the details of the various ethnic groups” under their control. “Spiritual simplicity and hospitality are an organic and inalienable part of the Russian character which is expressed more strongly among them than among Belarusians.” The latter are more accustomed to reserve, having been influenced in that regard by Roman Catholicism and the Poles. “Beyond any doubt,” he says, “Belarusians and Russians are two different peoples; and therefore, the nationalists from Belarus are absolutely right when they speak about the cultural-social identity of their country.” But they sometimes neglect to note that Belarusians have taken from the Russians some good things as well as bad. But “in the final analysis,” Nikitenko concludes, “Belarusians will remain Belarusians and Russians will continue to be Russians; and this circumstance will only be strengthened by the fact that these peoples were never a single whole and will not become one.”
Analysis: Under Moscow Pressure, Could Belarus’s Balancing Act Come Crashing Down?
A flurry of diplomatic activity has sparked speculation that Russia is preparing to swallow up its smaller neighbor. But many analysts see the sharp exchanges as just another round of a decades-old…
UAWire – President of Belarus Lukashenko refuses to use Russian rubles as common currency
Belarus is not against having a single currency with Russia, but it should not be the Russian currency, President of Belarus Alexander …


‘Sex Trainer,’ Escort ‘Nastya Rybka’ Released But Remains Suspect, Lawyer Says
A Belarusian escort and self-described sex trainer who claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has been released from police custody, according to a lawyer.
Model who claimed U.S.-Russia collusion evidence freed from jail in Moscow – The Washington Post
Anastasia Vashukevich, who still faces prostitution charges, has vowed to remain silent on alleged collusion tape.
Belarusian ‘Sex Trainer’ Stands Up The Press, Praises ‘President Of My Favorite Country’
Self-described “sex trainer” Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, was a no-show at her own press conference, a day after her release from police custody in Russia.
‘Nastya Rybka’ To Remain In Custody, Apologizes To Deripaska
A Moscow court on January 19 extended for three days the custody of Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Thursday (January 17) on suspicion of “enticement into prostitution.” Vashukevich, whose reported relationship with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska put her at the center of a geopolitical scandal, spoke to reporters in the courtroom and apologized to Deripaska, pledging not to publish any audio recordings of him that she had previously said she possessed.
Belarusian Model Proclaims Innocence, Apologizes In Moscow Court As Detention Extended
A Belarusian model who claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has apologized to a Russian tycoon as she also proclaimed her innocence of prostitution-related charges against her.
Model in Russian court apologizes for US election claim – AOL News
A Belarusian model who last year claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election apologized in Russian court.
Model in Russian court apologizes for US election claim – ABC News
Model who alleged Russian meddling in US election tells Moscow court she will not publish Deripaska recordings 
Anastasia Vashukevich, the model who recorded a former employer of Paul Manafort allegedly discussing US relations with a Russian deputy prime minister during the 2016 election, has promised in a Moscow court not to release any further recordings.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

 


 

Ahead Of Election, U.S. Calls On Moldova To Ensure Free, Fair Process
The United States has urged Moldovan officials to ensure a free and fair election process for the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections.

 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


 

UAWire – Media: a conflict is brewing between Russia and Iran in Syria
After the victory of the Damascus government forces over the rebels, there is a new escalation in the Syrian crisis, reported the German Spiegel Online on January 25 with reference to the intercepted radio communication dated January 19. According to these records, units that are part of the corps of pro-Russian militants started an armed clash with the units of the pro-Iranian militants in the strategically important Al-Ghab Plain in the north-west of the Hama Governorate. Both sides reportedly used armored vehicles, grenade launchers and machine guns. However, soon the Russian-Syrian forces overran the Iranian-Syrian forces. They took control of several villages and reached the small town of Hwaiz. According to the publication, the situation has since stabilized to some extent. Both Iran and Russia strive to control the Al-Ghab Plain. There is no information on the losses since none of the sides wants to make the conflict between Assad’s allies public. Meanwhile, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported that the S-300 Russian anti-aircraft missile system was not used to repel the Israeli air strike in Syria. Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said that if the Russian missile defense had fulfilled its functions, Israel would not have been able to carry out air raids on Syria so easily. He assumed that Israel coordinates air attacks with Russian troops in Syria.
World War 3: ‘Rapid military escalation’ between Iran and Israel | World | News | Express.co.uk
TENSIONS between Iran and Israel are ‘escalating and intensifying’ after Israel struck Iranian targets this week, a former Pentagon official has warned.
Israeli air raids on Iranian targets in Syria escalate tensions | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Iran says entering into a direct war with Israel is a decision for the Syrian government, but experts fear the escalating tensions between Israel and Iran.
Israel and Iran Are Waging a Secret War in Syria. Here’s How It Finally Went Public | Time
Iranian rockets over an Israeli ski resort in the Golan Heights have revealed a shadow war in Syria.
U.S. Says Mideast Conference In Warsaw Not Aimed At Demonizing Iran
An international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw next month is aimed at promoting stability in the region, not at demonizing Iran, the United States has said.
Navy vet detained in Iran due to ‘private complaint’ while visiting girlfriend
Michael White, 46, has been held since July, and is the first known American to have been detained in Iran since President Donald Trump took office.
American Navy veteran jailed over ‘private complaint,’ Iran says | Fox News
A U.S. Navy veteran jailed in Iran since July is being held on a “private complaint,” an Iranian news agency reported Friday
Missile interception caught on snowboarder’s camera in Golan Heights – YouTube
Guardian News Published on Jan 21, 2019 An Israeli interception of a Syrian missile was caught on a snowboarder’s camera from the snowy slopes of Mount Hermon on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Israel’s military said its Iron Dome interceptor system shot down a rocket fired at the northern part of the occupied Golan Heights on the Syria frontier on Sunday.
Israel Demands for U.S. Base Are a Hitch in Trump’s Syria Plans – Bloomberg
U.S. troops in one small outpost in the south of Syria may be preparing for a longer stay, even as administration and military officials try to work out the details of President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw.
US troops may remain at this remote base in Syria to challenge Iran – INSIDER
While the US is planning to pull troops out of Syria, it looks like some US military personnel could stay behind at a remote outpost to counter Iran.
Iranian journalist Marzieh Hashemi released from U.S. custody, completes testimony to grand jury – The Washington Post
Arrest of English-language PressTV news presenter on ‘material witness’ warrant sparked protest from Iran’s foreign minister.
U.S. Foreign Policy in Free Fall | The National Interest
The direct damage to the reputation of the United States has never been more substantial.


World War 3: Saudi Arabia’s first missile factory sparks new ‘missile race in Middle East’ | World | News | Express.co.uk
A NEW “missile race in the Middle East” is underway after it was revealed Saudi Arabia is building its first known ballistic missile factory.
Experts, images suggest a Saudi ballistic missile program
A military base deep inside Saudi Arabia appears to be testing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles, experts and satellite images suggest, evidence of the type of weapons program it has long criticized its archrival Iran for possessing.


Damascus condemns Turkish presence in north as breach of deal | Turkey News | Al Jazeera
Damascus says Turkey’s presence in Syria breaches 1998 Adana deal, but Ankara insists deal gives it right to intervene.
Putin, Erdogan Meeting In Moscow For Talks On Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are to hold talks in Moscow on January 23, with Turkey saying the meeting will focus on Ankara’s proposed “security zon…
Erdogan Faces Syria Choice as Putin Revives 21-Year-Old Treaty – Bloomberg
Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested a long-forgotten security treaty between Turkey and Syria should be resuscitated, effectively pressing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cooperate with the regime in Damascus that he opposes.
Russia Confirms ‘Private Security Companies’ Operating Amid Unrest In Sudan – To Inform is to Influence
Wagner PMC is confirmed by the Russian government to be working in Sudan, ostensibly training their Army. The question is who is paying for Wagner PMC to operate in Sudan? When Zakharova says “according to our information” does it really mean, “we asked them to go”?  Did Prigozhin pay? Did Sudan pay? Did President Omar al-Bashir…
Russia Confirms ‘Private Security Companies’ Operating Amid Unrest In Sudan
The Russian Foreign Ministry says private Russian companies are training the army in Sudan, confirming their presence in the African country being shaken by mass street demonstrations by opposition…


Trump’s Mideast ‘Deal of the Century’ May Be a Raw One for Israel – WSJ
His plan is a closely held secret, but the signals look worrying for supporters of the Jewish state.
Alan Dershowitz: Time to tell the truth about the Palestinian issue
The front page of the New York Times Sunday Review featured one of the most biased, poorly informed, and historically inaccurate columns about the conflict between Israel and Palestine ever published by a mainstream newspaper. Written by Michelle Alexander, it is titled, “Time to break the silence on Palestine,” as if the Palestinian issue has not been the most overhyped cause on campuses, at the United Nations, and in the media.
Alan Dershowitz: Time to tell the truth about the Palestinian issue | TheHill
The New York Times ran one of the most biased articles about the conflict by a mainstream newspaper.
Western stereotypes about terrorists are dangerously out of touch – INSIDER
The number of Americans drawn to terror groups is relatively low, but a RAND report shows US citizens are more drawn to ISIS than to al-Qaeda.
Houthi rebels destroyed World War II-era T-34 tank – Defence Blog
Yemeni Houthi rebels were able to set fire to a World War II-era T-34 army tank. On 24 January, the Yemen Observer Twitter account released incredible footage showed the moment pro-Saudi forces T-34-85 tank was hit by a modern anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). According to Yemen Observer, Houthis fighters destroyed a T-34-85 tank with an ATGM near Damt town in Dhale province. The T-34 was the backbone of Soviet armor in World War II and beyond. Some 57,000 were built before the war ended in 1945, a number so large that “availability in numbers certainly played well for the Soviets as T-34s could swarm enemy positions seemingly at will,” militaryfactory.com says. T-34 production continued into the Cold War, with more than 80,000 produced in all. Thousands were exported around the world. As its designation indicates, this version featured an 85mm main gun, which significantly boosted its firepower, especially against late-war Nazi medium and heavy tanks. The tank was already well known for its speed, mobility, armor protection, and reliability, and is generally considered one of, if not the best all-around medium tank of the war. World War II-era T-34 tanks are currently in service of Yemen army and take part of the ongoing conflict that began in 2015 between two factions: the internationally recognized Yemeni government, led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies.

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 



Second Trump-Kim summit to take place in Vietnam: report | TheHill
President Trump’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is slated to take place in Vietnam next month,
Trump – Kim Jong Un meeting: White House says second summit with North Korea happening next month after meeting North Korea’s Kim Yong Choi today in Oval Office today – CBS News
The announcement came after President Trump and top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol met in the Oval Office Friday
Trump to meet with Kim Jong Un for second time next month – POLITICO
The announcement came after Trump met with a top North Korean official in the Oval Office on Friday for over an hour.
North Korea missiles: New CSIS report reveals secret missile base
Researchers have discovered another secret ballistic missile base in North Korea, one of an estimated 20 that the communist state has not declared. The base, called Sino-ri, was disclosed in a report released Monday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington D.C.-base
Researchers find undisclosed missile site in North Korea | TheHill
Researchers have uncovered a secret ballistic missile base in North Korea, according to a new report released on Monday.  The base is one of 20 of the Nor
U.S. and North Korean Spies Have Held Secret Talks for a Decade – WSJ
Years of covert contacts with America’s bitter adversary helped pave the way for President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un. A comprehensive description of how the channel worked adds texture to the public picture of mutual threats and stymied talks.


J-20 variant may be world’s first two-seat stealth fighter jet: report – China Military
China’s most advanced stealth fighter jet J-20 could be developed into a bomber, electric warfare aircraft and a carrier-based variant, Chinese military experts said on Wednesday as latest reports suggested a two-seat version of the warplane is under development.
China Is Developing Two Stealth Bombers: Report | The National Interest
Get ready: The new bombers also could carry nuclear weapons.
China’s weapons: Science fiction or battle ready? – CNN
Since the beginning of January, the Chinese military has revealed a dizzying array of sophisticated and powerful new weaponry.
China’s mysterious H-20 bomber has a nuclear mission, but that’s got nothing on its real threat | Business Insider
China’s much-hyped but never-before-seen H-20 nuclear bomber has reportedly made “great progress” in its development recently and may even fly publicly in a 2019 military parade.
China’s Secret H-20 Stealth Bomber to Be Revealed in 2019 – Reports – Sputnik International
China’s Hong-20 long-range stealth bomber is reportedly going to be unveiled publicly for the first time during the 70th anniversary of the People’s’ Liberation Army-Air Force in 2019.
Is This China’s Stealth Bomber?
The Pentagon believes the new bomber, known as JH-XX, will carry nuclear weapons.
Oh Great, Now China’s Got a Stealth Bomber, Too? – War Is Boring – Medium
The above images, dug up online by China aviation expert Andreas Rupprecht, are the first public glimpse of what could Beijing’s future stealth bomber. True, those are just plastic and…
China’s Now Has a Super Weapon America’s Navy Lacks: Railguns | The National Interest
China’s futuristic electromagnetic railgun may already be the most powerful cannon to ever roam the high seas — ahead of schedule.


Engagement vs. Competition: The China Policy Debate | RAND
There is a consensus that the U.S. is engaged in an intensifying strategic competition with China. It’s less clear what relationship the U.S. should seek and can plausibly achieve with its competitor. An inability to classify China along the ally-to-adversary continuum limits, if not precludes, America’s ability to formulate a coherent strategy.
The China dream: America’s, China’s, and the resulting competition – AEI
The strategic competition between the US and China is principally the product of regime-driven differences over both what constitutes . . .
China and the New Strategic Nuclear Arms Race | Center for Strategic and International Studies
By Anthony H. Cordesman Download the Report  
China releases video of DF-26 ballistic missile launch – Defence Blog
Chinese state-owned news media have released showing a launch of Dong Feng-26 (DF-26) intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). The video also was posted to the Twitter page of a Chinese military expert on 23 January. The DF-26 is one of the most sophisticated and advaneced Chinese intermediate-range ballistic missile deployed by the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force. China’s DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile has a maximum range of 4,000 km (2,500 miles) and can threaten U.S. land and sea-based forces as far away as the Pacific island of Guam. Chinese media has dubbed missile system as the “Guam killer” for its ability to hit the U.S. Pacific Ocean base with a conventional or nuclear weapon. The DF-26 is a two-stage solid-fuel missile that mounted at a 12×12 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL), likely based on CASC’s Tai’an Corporation HTF5680. The DF-26 was unveiled for the first time to the public during the military parade of September 3, 2015 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, its existence was confirmed only in the mid-2010s. According to the Jane’s Defence Weekly, in April 2018, China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) has confirmed that the locally designed and developed DF-26 IRBM has entered service with the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF).
Pentagon: Chinese Military Units Training With ASAT missiles
Chinese military forces have deployed multiple units armed with anti-satellite (ASAT) missiles that can destroy scores of American satellites.
Navy officials says carrier could be sent through Taiwan Strait | TheHill
A Navy official on Friday said it could still send an aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait in spite of recent military advances by China that could heighten the threat posed to U.S. warships. 
China warned the US to steer clear of Taiwan, but the US Navy says it could send an aircraft carrier through the strait if it wanted | Business Insider
The US Navy is not ruling out the possibility of sending an aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, Navy leadership said on Friday.
China warns the US to ‘tread lightly’ after US warships put Beijing on edge in the tense Taiwan Strait | Business Insider
China’s leaders are increasingly on edge as US Navy warships have begun transiting the tense Taiwan Strait on a regular basis.
U.S. Navy chief does not rule out sending aircraft carrier through Taiwan Strait | Reuters
The U.S. Navy has not ruled out sending an aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, despite military technology advances by China that pose a greater threat to U.S. warships than ever before, the chief of U.S. naval operations said on Friday.
The United States Is Not Doing Enough to Fight Chinese Influence – Foreign Policy
Beijing’s authoritarian political warfare demands a strong response.
China and the US Are Destined for Peace, Not for War | The Diplomat
The trade truce provides a chance for both sides to remember that they are not enemies.
U.S. Should Be Wary of High-Tech Export Controls on China – Bloomberg
Misreading the lessons of the conflict with the Soviet Union is a good place to start. 
China Might Be Bugging US Subways — But There’s a Bigger Problem – Defense One
Years of neglecting public infrastructure has undercut the U.S. manufacturing base.


U.S. to proceed with case against Huawei executive held in Canada – The Washington Post
The news will intensify a diplomatic standoff with China that has officials and scholars worried.
China is outraged that the US wants to take the arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou off Canada’s hands | Business Insider
American officials say they are on track to have Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO delivered to the US to stand trial.
U.S. will seek extradition of Huawei CFO from Canada | Reuters
The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it will pursue the extradition of the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s, arrested in Canada in December.
Justin Trudeau axes Canadian ambassador to China over Huawei exec remarks | Fox News
Trudeau fires Canada’s ambassador to China amid Huawei controversy – BBC News
Justin Trudeau acted after controversial comments the envoy made about the Huawei extradition case.
Canada’s Justin Trudeau fires China ambassador over Huawei remarks
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday said he had fired his ambassador to China, who prompted a political furor with comments about a high-profile extradition case.
Meng Wanzhou: Canada’s ambassador to China retracts Huawei case remarks – CNN
Canada’s ambassador to China John McCallum has retracted controversial comments he made about the case against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, saying he “misspoke.”
Canadian ambassador: Huawei exec could avoid US extradition – Business Insider
Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, said that Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has a case to avoid extradition partly due to Trump’s comments.
Meng Wanzhou extradition: Canada expects formal request from US soon – CNN
The United States will soon make a formal request for the extradition of Huawei’s chief financial officer, according to the Canadian government, marking the next step in a case that has set off a geopolitical storm.
Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou: US to formally seek extradition, report says
Canada’s ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton did not say when the formal extradition request will be made but the deadline for filing it is Jan. 30, according to the Globe and Mail.
Schellenberg’s death sentence leaves China and Canada at crisis point – CNN
There’s no easy way out in the darkening diplomatic feud between China and Canada over the detention of a Huawei executive — even as a man’s life now hangs on the outcome.
Ex-Diplomats and scholars warn detention of Canadians will leave China ‘worse off’ – CNN
More than a hundred former diplomats, academics and activists have written an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping calling for the immediate release of two Canadians detained in China.
Scholars and Ex-Diplomats Warn of Chill After Canadians Detained in China – The New York Times
An open letter urges China to free two Canadian men, and warns that their detention will magnify distrust and impede international cooperation on research.
How a Growing Rift With Canada Is Unfolding in China – The New York Times
China correspondent Chris Buckley discusses the country’s opinion of Canada and the case of a Canadian now facing the death penalty.
Canada dismisses China’s warning of repercussions over Huawei ban | Reuters
Canada’s government on Friday dismissed China’s warning of repercussions if Ottawa banned Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] from supplying equipment to 5G networks, saying it would not compromise on security.
China has a special passport for elites—like Huawei’s detained executive — Quartz
A recent finding about a detained Huawei executive’s passports could raise more questions about the telecom giant’s relationship with the Chinese government.


Xi keeps China on high alert for ‘black swan’ events: Xinhua | Reuters
China must be on guard against “black swan” risks while fending off “gray rhino” events, President Xi Jinping said on Monday, adding that the economy faces deep and complicated changes, state news agency Xinhua reported.
China’s Xi Warns Party of `Serious Dangers’ as Risks Mount – Bloomberg
President Xi Jinping stressed the need to maintain political stability in an unusual meeting of China’s top leaders — a fresh sign the ruling party is growing concerned about the social implications of the slowing economy.
China says Soros’ criticism of Xi is ‘meaningless’ | Reuters
U.S. billionaire George Soros’ criticism of Chinese President Xi Jinping was “meaningless”, China’s foreign ministry said on Friday, after the investor and philanthropist called Xi the world’s most “dangerous opponent” of open society.
Trump won’t soften hardline on China to make trade deal: advisers | Reuters
As much as U.S. President Donald Trump wants to boost markets through a trade pact with China, he will not soften his position that Beijing must make real structural reforms, including how it handles intellectual property, to reach a deal, advisers say.
Davos: China calls for ‘mutual respect’ amid long-running trade war
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan addressed international heads of state at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday, saying confrontation between Washington and Beijing “harms the interest of both sides.”
How the U.S.-China trade war ends – POLITICO
Trump wants to reduce the deficit with China, while Xi wants a growing economy.
Rogue Chinese scientist He Jiankui faces punishment for creating gene-edited babies | World | The Times
A second woman is pregnant with a genetically modified baby in China, it emerged today, as Beijing authorities vowed to punish the scientist who has been found by an inquiry to have broken the law and fabricated ethics reviews. He Jiankui, 34, a geneticist, created the world’s first gene-edited bab
First airlines, now Apple: China wants 66 more multinationals to state self-ruled Taiwan is part of its country – Los Angeles Times
China demands that 66 more multinational companies refer to self-ruled Taiwan as part China or face economic sanctions.
He Jiankui, Chinese scientist who helped create first gene-edited babies with CRISPR, fired by university today – CBS News
He Jiankui evaded supervision of his work and violated research norms because he wanted to be famous — and could face prosecution for using CRISPR technology, authorities said
Gene-edited babies were illegal, say Chinese authorities – CNN
Authorities in China say experiments which led to the birth of the world’s first gene-edited babies broke the country’s laws, state-run Xinhua news reported Monday.
CRISPR babies: is this the start of a terrifying new chapter in gene editing? – Vox
A Chinese government investigation found He Jiankui violated state law in pursuit of “personal fame and fortune.”
China’s Foreign Fighters Problem
China has a foreign fighters problem. Like many other states, it is dealing with the complex security and legal implications of its residents leaving the


China Arrests Democracy Advocate Yang Hengjun Following Flight From New York : NPR
Friends say they’re worried for the safety of the Chinese-Australian writer and former diplomat whose push for political change earned him the nickname “the democracy peddler.”
Yang Hengjun: Australia seeks information on writer ‘missing’ in China – BBC News
Blogger Yang Hengjun has a sizeable following online and has criticised China’s Communist Party.
Chinese-Australian Writer Yang Hengjun Disappears in China – The New York Times
A former Chinese official with Australian citizenship, Mr. Yang flew from New York to Guangzhou despite friends’ warnings that it was too dangerous.
Australia Probes Reported Disappearance of Australian-Chinese Writer in China – WSJ
Australia’s government is investigating the reported disappearance of an Australian-Chinese political writer and academic in China, amid heightened concern over detentions of Western nationals in the country.
Australian writer Yang Hengjun missing in China – The Washington Post
Supporters of Yang Hengjun say the writer is the latest citizen of a U.S. ally held by Chinese state security.


Russians Holding Protests Against Possible Kurile Handover
Russians in Moscow and other cities across the country are participating in protests against the prospect of transferring the disputed Kurile Islands to Japan.
Answering the call: The women on the front lines of Japan’s defense – CNN
The first time 22-year-old Akiko Hirayama stepped on board a navy ship, she was transfixed by the hardware.
Japan’s military turns to women to fill the ranks – CNN Video
The Japanese military is struggling with recruitment, as the country’s population continues to shrink. Now, they are turning to women to fill the ranks – a move that is challenging gender stereotypes in Japan’s conservative society. CNN’s Alexandra Field reports.
Laos Receives Yak-130 Combat Jet Trainers | Defense News: Aviation International News
Laos has become the fifth export customer for the Yak-130, but the exact nature of the deal has raised some controversy in Russia.

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Polish FM Czaputowicz: Nord Stream 2 must not be built
Poland’s stance on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline remains unwavering: this project must not be implemented. — Ukrinform.
UAWire – Poland: Nord Stream 2 poses significant threat to the world and to security in Europe
Poland sees Nord Stream 2 as a significant threat to the world and to the security of the European continent not only in terms of Europe’s deepening dependence on Russian energy resources but also of prospects of escalation of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, stated Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz during a meeting in Davos with Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze. Czaputowicz noted that, when the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine is stopped, Ukraine will lose income and certain protection from Russia’s wide aggression, the press service of the Cabinet of Ministers reported. Czaputowicz explained that Poland’s position regarding the construction of Nord Stream 2 coincides with the general position of the European Commission and remains unchanged. That is, the “gas directive” regarding application of its requirements to the underwater gas pipelines should apply to all gas pipelines. Czaputowicz was adamant that Nord Stream 2 should not be implemented. Ukrainian Vice-Prime-Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Klympush-Tsintsadze, in turn, expressed hope for further coordination to counter the construction of Nord Stream 2. She noted that Poland plays an active role among the EU countries that advocate their positions regarding the need for early approval of amendments to the “gas directive” by the member States.
UAWire – Russia in first place in the number of lawsuits in the European Court of Human Rights
Russia and Turkey lead in the number of lawsuits filed against these countries in the European Court of Human Rights. Russia leads Turkey …
EU urges crackdown on ‘golden passports’ for big investors – BBC News
EU countries selling passports for investments must watch out for criminal abuse, Brussels warns.
RU: State Duma refuses to resume cooperation with PACE, increasing chances that Russia could leave the Council of Europe – To Inform is to Influence
Interfax 04:50, 17 January 2019 Federal lawmakers in Russia say they are opposed to sending a delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for this year’s Winter Session in Strasbourg, rejecting an invitation from General Secretary Wojciech Sawicki. On January 17, at a plenary session of the State Duma, all four…
U.S. prosecutors press witnesses to testify against Assange: WikiLeaks | Reuters
U.S. federal prosecutors have stepped up efforts to pressure witnesses to testify against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, WikiLeaks said on Wednesday, in connection with what it said were secret criminal charges filed by the Trump administration.
The Hazard of Environmental Morality – Foreign Policy
Efforts to combat climate change should be pragmatic above all else.


The Beginning of the End of Britain’s Brexit Fantasy – Foreign Policy
Maybe the worst part of the Brexit boondoggle is that the “better” trade deals the U.K. wanted were probably never going to happen.
Brexit debate has brought out the worst of modern politics – The Washington Post
Division, paralysis, dysfunction, tribalism and weak leaders have created a mess as the clock ticks toward Britain’s separation from the European Union.
Trump and May Are Discrediting Democracy – Foreign Policy
Chaos and dysfunction in Washington and London make liberal democratic government look bad—and embolden China and Russia to market authoritarianism as an efficient alternative.
THE BREXIT EFFECT: What no deal Brexit will REALLY mean for Britain | Science | News | Express.co.uk
BREXIT has profound implications for almost every aspect of UK life – and the science and technology industries are no different. But what could a no deal Brexit really mean for the UK?
Germans urge Britain to remain in EU amid Brexit impasse: ‘We would miss tea with milk’ | Fox News
Amid the ongoing Brexit impasse among British lawmakers, a group of prominent German including the woman in line to take over for Angela Merkel as chancellor is urging Britain to stay in the European Union saying they would miss milk with tea and post-work pints.
Times Letters: ‘German friends’ urge Britain to stay in EU | Comment | The Times
Sir, Without your great nation, this continent would not be what it is today: a community defined by freedom and prosperity. After the horrors of the Second World War, Britain did not give up on us. It has welcomed Germany back as a sovereign nation and a European power. This we, as Germans, have n
‘We will miss you’: Germany pleads with the British to stay in EU | Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s protege appealed to the British on Friday to stay in the European Union, saying her compatriots had not forgotten how Britain welcomed Germany back as a sovereign nation after World War Two.
German industry ‘is looking into the abyss’ warns country’s business chiefs | Daily Mail Online
Germany’s supply chains are closely intertwined with Britain – sparking fears that its manufacturing sector will be badly damaged if the UK crashes out of the European Union without an agreement.
Ditch Brexit, German leaders urge UK in paean to ale and milky tea | World news | The Guardian
Leading politicians among signatories to Times letter calling on Britain to stay in EU
Brexit: High-profile Germans plead with UK to stay in EU – BBC News
Leading politicians, business and sports people write of their love for post-work pints and panto.
Theresa May demands concessions from the EU as she abandons cross-party Brexit talks | Business Insider
LONDON – Theresa May has rejected calls to compromise with opposition parties on Brexit and will instead press ahead with a plan to return once again to Brussels to demand new concessions from the European Union.
Germany `Would Not Mind’ Giving May an Extension: Brexit Update – Bloomberg
Parliament is inching toward a plan to delay Brexit as a way of preventing a chaotic no-deal departure. The pound rose.
Airbus issues stark warning on Brexit – CNN
Airbus has warned that its plants in the United Kingdom may not survive if the country crashes out of the European Union, rupturing trade links and supply chains.
Momentum gathers behind British lawmakers’ bid to stop no-deal Brexit | Reuters
An attempt by British lawmakers to prevent a no-deal Brexit was gaining momentum on Wednesday after the opposition Labour Party said it was likely to throw its parliamentary weight behind that.
Angela Merkel gives May a helping hand saying Brussels will compromise to save Brexit deal
The German leader insisted history would judge the EU if it is too inflexible
Brexit latest: Germany MOCKS May’s attempts to end Brexit impasse as MYSTERY | World | News | Express.co.uk
GERMANY has appeared to mock Theresa May’s attempts to break the Brexit impasse by reminding the Prime Minister that EU member states would have to agree any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.
Opposition leader pushes for parliament vote on new Brexit referendum | Reuters
British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn moved a step closer to paving the way for another referendum on European Union membership by trying to use parliament to grab control of Brexit from Prime Minister Theresa May.


France and Germany to seal new deal as Brexit looms – BBC News
A new treaty between two of Europe’s closest friends – but why now, and what’s in it?
France and Germany Sign Deal That ‘Contributes’ to ‘European Army’ to Defend Against China, Russia and U.S.
At the same time, the French government assured its population it would never cede the once-disputed Alsace-Lorraine territory to Germany, nor would locals be forced to speak German.
Water cannons and smoke bombs: 52 people detained during protests in France – 112.international
The protests of Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) continue in France. In particular, the “night of yellow vests” began on the Republic Square n Paris. Currently, there have been reports of 52 detainees. “The police have used tear gas. Law enforcers are standing around the Republic Square and we cannot get there now. Explosions are audible,” the correspondent noted. She also added that today the police used water cannons on the Bastille Square. In turn, the protesters use smoke bombs and provoke law enforcement. There are a lot of firefighters on the streets of Paris near the collision lines, there are also armored vehicles and water cannons in the area.
French ‘Yellow Vests’ gather in Paris for tenth weekend of protests
France’s ‘Yellow Vest’ protests could become more mainstream, survey warns
France has seen over the last two months repeated street and violent protests – a scenario that could become more mainstream worldwide, the Edelman Trust Barometer Report warned Sunday.
Salvini Takes a Swing at Merkel and Forecasts Losses for Macron – Bloomberg
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is ramping up his attacks on the European establishment.
Italy’s Salvini hopes Macron’s support dwindles at EU elections | Reuters
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday he hoped the French people would not choose President Emmanuel Macron’s party in European parliament elections later this year, drawing a sharp response from officials in Paris.
Italy rages at Macron for ‘stealing wealth’ from African ‘colonies’ in migrant row | World | News | Express.co.uk
MATTEO Salvini has accused France of “stealing wealth” from African “colonies” following a row over France’s role in Africa, as the two countries continue to clash over Europe’s migrant crisis.
Poetry for the Masses – Foreign Policy
1,200 newly translated poems from Bertolt Brecht offer an unexpected survival guide for difficult times.
Norway To Hold Russian Accused In Stabbing
A court in Norway has ordered the detention of a Russian national ahead of his trial for allegedly stabbing a woman at a supermarket in Oslo that police say was the start of a plan to kill several people.


Hungary Finally Has an Opposition Worth a Damn – Foreign Policy
The country’s youngest party has united the left and right against Viktor Orban.
‘We have had enough’ say Hungarians rallying against PM Orban | Reuters
Several thousand Hungarians demonstrated in Budapest on Saturday against Prime Minister Viktor Orban and a new overtime law that has drawn workers out to the streets in several protest rallies.
The Plot Against George Soros
How two Jewish American political consultants helped create the world’s largest anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
Open Society Foundations
The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.


Austrian who called for introduction of Russian troops gets 14 years in prison – 112.international
In Austria, the court sentenced Monika Unger, the leader of the underground radical organization Staatenbund Osterreich (Austrian Confederation) to 14 years in prison for high treason. This is reported by The Local. The organization involves about 2,600 members. The ‘Austrian Confederation’ claims the Austrian authorities and its laws to be illegitimate. Unger wanted the Austrian army to overthrow the government; moreover, she called for military assistance from Russia.
Greece: Tsipras narrowly wins confidence vote, risks early election
The political situation is still fragile for Tsipras, whose party has only 145 seats in the Greek parliament — making him leader of a minority government.
Violent Protest Erupts in Athens Over Greece-Macedonia Name Agreement
The nation Macedonia agreed to go by North Macedonia following a years-long naming dispute with Greece.
Protests in Greece Over Macedonia Deal Turn Violent – The New York Times
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Athens on Sunday, days before lawmakers vote on whether to ratify an agreement to rename the country’s northern neighbor North Macedonia.
Serbia orders Mi-35 and Mi-17 helicopters from Russia – Defence Blog
Serbia has ordered three more Mi-17 transport and seven Mi-35 combat helicopters from Russia, according to a statement by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. “Serbia is satisfied with its military-technical cooperation with Russia. We have agreed to purchase seven Mi-35 and three Mi-17 helicopters,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in his address to the nation following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belgrade. At the press conference, Serbian President and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić said that today he had the opportunity to host a “proven friend of Serbia and its people”. He said he was pleased with the progress of cooperation between the two countries in all areas, stressing that numerous agreements have been signed in almost all spheres of economic and social life. What is also important to us is our military cooperation, which has always been not only correct, but we are grateful for the support and assistance, and because Serbia could purchase equipment at more favourable prices – President Vučić said, adding that the president of the Russian Federation, taking care of the Serbian people and Serbia, has always been of assistance to us. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that during today’s meetings they considered military-to-military and military-technical cooperation. He stressed that Russia will continue to be of assistance to Serbian leadership and help strengthening Serbia’s defense capabilities, and develop cooperation with defense companies and continue the practice of joint military exercises.
UAWire – Putin promises Vucic $1.4 billion to help extend TurkStream pipeline through Serbia
Russia is ready to invest $1.4 billion into Serbia’s economy in order to construct the TurkStream gas pipeline through the country, RBC news …


Rare book with Hitler’s plans for Holocaust in America bought by Canadian archive | The Independent
Adolf Hitler once owned a disturbing book that catalogued the number of the Jewish residents of the United States and Canada during the Second World War, which has now been acquired by Canada’s national archive. The book, published in 1944 by Heinz Kloss, a German researcher and linguist, appears to show that Nazis planned on making the Holocaust a worldwide event that spanned
Hitler-owned Nazi blueprint for North American holocaust acquired by Canadian archive – CNN

 


 

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

 


 

Who Will Win the Race for AI? – Foreign Policy
China and the United States are leading the pack—and the laggards face grave dangers.


Photo Gallery: Next-gen Combat Aircraft Development Gains Momentum | Aviation Week
Development of the next generation of combat aircraft around the world is speeding up, aiming for fielding in the 2030s and beyond.
Nellis AFB Wing Boss Talks To Us About His Novel Aggressor Paint Job Facebook Contest And More – The Drive
We discuss aggressor paint schemes, social media, what it’s like leading such a big outfit, and what’s new at Nellis with General Robert Novotny.
Forget the F-35 or F/A-18: The Navy Is Dreaming Up a 6th-Generation Fighter | The National Interest
The Navy program, called Next-Generation Air Dominance, has moved beyond a purely conceptual phase and begun exploration of prototype systems and airframes as it pursues a new, carrier-launched 6th-Gen fighter to emerge in 2030 and beyond, service officials explained.
U.S. Air Force installed first 3D printed part on an operational F-22 – Defence Blog
The U.S. ir Force has announced that a 574th Aircraft Maintenance Sqaudron maintainer installed the first metallic 3D printed part on an operational F-22 Raptor. According to a statement, the new titanium 3D printed part will not corrode and can be procured faster and at less cost than the conventionally manufactured part. The use of 3D printing is not new to the Air Force. The service has routinely used 3D printing for legacy aircraft requiring parts that may be out of production due to manufacturing obsolescence. However, 3D printing is becoming more common place in the Air Force’s supply chain when it comes to its fifth-generation aircraft. In December, a metallic 3D printed part was installed by 574th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintainers on an operational F-22 Raptor during depot maintenance here. “One of the most difficult things to overcome in the F-22 community, because of the small fleet size, is the availability of additional parts to support the aircraft,” said Robert Lewin, 574th AMXS director. The use of 3D printing gives maintainers the ability to acquire replacement parts on short notice without minimum order quantities. This not only saves taxpayer dollars, but reduces the time the aircraft is in maintenance. The printed bracket will not corrode and is made using a powder bed fusion process that utilizes a laser to build the part layer by layer from a titanium powder. A new bracket can be ordered and delivered to the depot for installation as quickly as three days. The printed part replaces a corrosion-prone aluminum component in the kick panel assembly of the cockpit that is replaced 80 percent of the time during maintenance. “We had to go to engineering, get the prints modified, we had to go through stress testing to make sure the part could withstand the loads it would be experiencing – which isn’t that much, that is why we chose a secondary part,” said Robert Blind, Lockheed Martin modifications manager. The part will be monitored while in service and inspected when the aircraft returns to Hill AFB for maintenance. If validated, the part will be installed on all F-22 aircraft during maintenance. “We’re looking to go a little bit further as this part proves itself out,” said Blind. The printed titanium bracket is only the first of many metallic additive manufactured parts planned through public-private partnerships. There are at least five more metallic 3D printed parts planned for validation on the F-22. “Once we get to the more complicated parts, the result could be a 60-70 day reduction in flow time for aircraft to be here for maintenance,” said Lewin. This will enable faster repair and reduce the turnaround returning the aircraft back to the warfighter.
US military uses Russian-styled air defense systems during training exercise – Defence Blog
The US military practices air assault with Russian-styled air defense systems during Southern Strike 19 training exercises at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Southern Strike is a large scale, conventional and special operations exercise hosted by the Mississippi National Guard. The 172d Airlift Wing has released video showed with Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) from the 148th Air Force Special Operations Command (ASOS) coordinating targets, AH-64 Apache crews fire on targets during Southern Strike 19 training exercises at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. At the video were spotted Russian-styled air defense systems, such as Osa and Tor short-range surface-to-air missile systems and BTR-80 wheeled amphibious armoured personnel carrier. Apache crews relearning air assault skills that were de-emphasised after the threat of a ground war waned with the end Cold War.
Commentary: Was Singapore’s announcement to buy a small number of F-35s too slow, too tentative? – Channel NewsAsia
Buying a small number allows the Republic of Singapore Air Force to understand how best to integrate the Joint Strike Fighter’s game-changing …
It’s about time – AEI
A few days ago, the US Air Force officially took delivery on the first of what should be several hundred KC-46 “Pegasus” aerial refueling aircraft. This was meant to be a quick and relatively straightforward program to modify the venerable 767 airliner — initially designed in the 1970s — for the “tanker” mission that allows the Air Force to dominate the world’s skies with smaller and mostly short-range fighter aircraft.
Can Big Data Save Old Warplanes?
The Air Force started using artificial intelligence to keep aging airplanes ready for operation. As early results come in, it’s time to see if it works.


The U.S. Marines Want the Ability to Sink Ships | NMESIS System
The service envisions a future when enemy warships might menace Marines ashore.
Navy Prepares to Add New Ship-Killer Missile to LCS | RealClearDefense
Navy Prepares to Add New Ship-Killer Missile to LCS | RealClearDefense
Army Moves Forward With Next-Gen Squad Rifle Program
Army Moves Forward With Next-Gen Squad Rifle Program
The Army’s New 1,000 Mile Supergun | RealClearDefense
The Army’s New 1,000 Mile Supergun | RealClearDefense
General Atomics receives $19M contract for carrier EMALS system – Defence Blog
General Atomics signed a $19,6 million contract for Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) spare parts in support of the CVN-78 aircraft carrier. The deal, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, provides for the manufacture, assembly, inspection, integration, test and delivery of Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) spare parts in support of the Ford-class CVN-78 prior to the Advanced Arresting Gear and EMALS material support dates. According to a statement, General Atomics, Electromagnetics Systems Group, is awarded $19,6 million for firm-fixed-price delivery order N0001919F2406 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-16-G-0006). Work is expected to be completed in January 2023.
U.S. Navy to commission newest Zumwalt-class destroyer – Defence Blog
The U.S. Navy has announced that the newest Zumwalt-class destroyer, the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), will be commissioned at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Naval Air Station North Island. California Congressman Scott Peters will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Mrs. Sally Monsoor, Michael’s mother, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Monsoor will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!” Capt. Scott Smith is the commanding officer of the ship and leads the core crew of 148 officers and enlisted personnel. The nearly 16,000-ton Michael Monsoor was built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The ship is 610 feet in length, has a beam of 87 feet, and a navigational draft of 27 feet. The ship is powered by two Rolls-Royce main turbine generators, two Rolls-Royce auxiliary turbine generators, two 34.6 MW advanced induction motors to speeds up to 30-plus knots. DDG 1001 is the second Zumwalt class destroyer to enter the fleet. It honors Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006. At the ship’s 2008 naming ceremony, former Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter recognized Monsoor as, “a consummate professional who faced terrorist enemies with aplomb and stoicism.” Zumwalt-class destroyers are the most lethal and sophisticated destroyers ever built. They provide deterrence and forward presence by bridging today’s innovation with future technology. Zumwalt-class destroyers maximize stealth, size, power and computing capacity –fielding an array of weapons systems and cutting-edge technologies to fight forces in the air, on and under the sea, and on land. USS Michael Monsoor will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego, California.
U.S. Army demonstrates experimental Brutus howitzer – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army has released footage showed a test firing of the Brutus, an experimental 155mm forward recoiling howitzer mounted on an FMTV ( Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles). 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, showed the Brutus, an experimental 155mm forward recoiling howitzer mounted on an FMTV during artillery demonstration at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The U.S. Army developed an experimental 155mm truck-mounted howitzer based on experience gained in Syria and Iraq. The Brutus is a 155mm truck-mounted howitzer for increased mobility and enhanced firing capabilities. Experimental 155mm howitzer installed on an FMTV 6X6 truck chassis. Howitzer is capable of using a wide range of ammunition for deployment against protected and unprotected targets, to create counter-mobility obstacles to block the manoeuvres of enemy armoured forces and to obscure or illuminate an area. No further details on the howitzer have been released but noted that the U.S. Army interested in new, more mobile, lightweight artillery pieces. It is expected that new mobile truck-mounted 155mm howitzer could replace the M119 and M777 towed howitzers currently at service of the U.S. Army and Marines. The first photos of experimental truck-mounted howitzer were published on the Facebook page of the 75th Field Artillery Brigade (artillery brigade in the United States Army) on 26 October.
British strike drone to receive Brimstone high-precision missile – Defence Blog
European guided weapons house MBDA has announced that the next-generation SkyGuardian aircraft which will be known as the Protector RG Mk.1 to receive Brimstone high-precision strike missile. According to a statement, MBDA has received a contract for the integration of its Brimstone high-precision strike missile onto the Royal Air Force’s Protector RG Mk1 remotely piloted aircraft developed and manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. The UK is the lead customer for the Protector RG Mk.1 and is expected it enters Royal Air Force (RAF ) service in the early 2020s. Brimstone and Protector RG Mk1 will provide key new capabilities to the Royal Air Force’s ISTAR force, enabling them to engage high-speed moving and manoeuvring targets (including maritime fast attack craft for the first time). The Protector RG Mk1 can carry three lightweight Brimstones per weapon station, and so offers a much higher loadout than the Reaper platform it will replace. Integration of Brimstone onto Protector RG Mk1 follows a series of successful firing trials of Brimstone from the Reaper/Predator B aircraft in the United States that demonstrated the advancement in performance that Brimstone offers. Brimstone integration will be completed in time for the entry to service of the aircraft with the RAF. James Allibone, MBDA’s UK Sales Director, said: “Protector RG Mk1 is the third UK air platform to benefit from the unmatched capabilities of the Brimstone missile, providing UK Armed Forces with vital operational advantages and sovereign defence capabilities. Brimstone is unique in its ability to be carried by platforms in all domains, land, sea and air, providing a common weapon that delivers both operational and cost benefits. Commonality is a key part of all MBDA’s latest systems, and is a major contributor to the £1.7 billion in savings that the partnership approach between the UK MoD and MBDA has generated.” Earlier in 2018, the UK MoD announced a £400 million contract with MBDA for the capability sustainment programme (CSP) of Brimstone missile, to build new missiles and extend this missile’s service life beyond 2030.
U.S. Army orders Black Hornet nano-unmanned aerial systems – Defence Blog
FLIR Systems has announced that it has been awarded a $39.6 million order to deliver Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance Systems (PRS) in support of the U.S. Army. According to statement, the highly capable nano-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems delivered under this contract will support platoon and small unit level surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Soldier Borne Sensor (SBS) Program. Also noted that the U.S. Army awarded in June 2018 the first SBS phase contract to FLIR for an initial batch of Black Hornet PRS. These systems are being delivered now to the U.S. Army for initial integration into the force. “We are proud to be selected by the U.S. Army for the SBS Program of Record. This contract represents a significant milestone with the operational large-scale deployment of nano-UAVs into the world’s most powerful Army,” said Jim Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR Systems. “This contract is a major win for the newly established Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business division at FLIR and demonstrates the strong and urgent demand for nano-UAV technology offered by FLIR. Protecting U.S. warfighters with our unmanned solutions is a key objective for FLIR,” he added. This contract expands the use of FLIR’s Black Hornet PRS for Armysurveillance and reconnaissance programs. FLIR has delivered over 8,000 Black Hornet nano-UAVs around the world. Apart from the U.S. Army, French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) also ordered Black Hornet 3 nano-UAV and PRS to support French Armed Forces operations. The cost of French Armed Forces order is a value of $89 million.
An Air Force radio that can run for a week in the sun
Technicians at McConnell Air Force Base have built a portable, solar-powered communications system that can run for seven days on a full charge.

 


 

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

The AI Threat to Open Societies by George Soros – Project Syndicate
In an age of populist nationalism, open societies have increasingly come under strain. But the threat of atavistic ideological movements pales in comparison to that posed by powerful new technologies in the hands of authoritarians. In an age of populist nationalism, open societies have increasingly come under strain. But the threat of atavistic ideological movements pales in comparison to that posed by powerful new technologies in the hands of authoritarians. DAVOS – I want to warn the world about an unprecedented danger that’s threatening the very survival of open societies. The rapidly improving instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can produce are giving repressive regimes an inherent advantage. For them, the improving instruments of control are a help; for open societies they constitute a mortal danger. n an age of populist nationalism, open societies have increasingly come under strain. But the threat of atavistic ideological movements pales in comparison to that posed by powerful new technologies in the hands of authoritarians. DAVOS – I want to warn the world about an unprecedented danger that’s threatening the very survival of open societies. The rapidly improving instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can produce are giving repressive regimes an inherent advantage. For them, the improving instruments of control are a help; for open societies they constitute a mortal danger.
A Japanese startup created a 55-question test that uses AI to pinpoint exactly what makes employees tick, and companies are paying thousands to use it | Business Insider
If you’ve ever led a team at work before, you know how hard it can be to keep people motivated.


Taking on the Kremlin From His Couch – Foreign Policy
Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat are fighting Vladimir Putin and his ilk, using little more than computers and smartphones.
3 ways China’s military could use cyber in war
A new report articulates how China might use cyber capabilities during a conflict.
Bulgaria extradites Russian hacker to America – To Inform is to Influence
January 20, 2019 Agence France-PresseMOSCOW: Bulgaria has extradited a Russian indicted by a US court for mounting a complex hacking scheme to the United States, the Russian embassy in Washington said on Saturday. The Russian embassy, in a statement on its VK social network, said Alexander Zhukov had been extradited on Jan.18 and was being…
Facebook could face record-setting fine in U.S. for privacy violations – media | UNIAN
U.S. regulators have met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook for violating a legally binding agreement with the government to protect the privacy of its users’ personal data, according to three people familiar with the deliberations but not authorized to speak on the record. The penalty is expected to be much larger than the $22.5 million fine the agency imposed on Google in 2012.
U.S. regulators have met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook for privacy violations – The Washington Post
The penalty is expected to be much larger than the $22.5 million fine the agency imposed on Google in 2012.
How more women on cybersecurity teams can create advantages
Industry leaders say a gender gap in the cybersecurity sector could represent an unaddressed tactical disadvantage for government and businesses alike.
French defense chief touts offensive tack in new cyber strategy
Florence Parly said Paris would not hesitate to deploy cyber weapons to achieve military objectives.
Googlers headline new commission on AI and national security
Guidance for the future of AI in national security will be written mostly by players in the existing AI industry.


Special Counsel Makes Rare Statement Casting Doubt On Cohen Report
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has disputed a report in BuzzFeed News that U.S. President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer to lie to Congress about a real estate project in Moscow a…
BuzzFeed rocks media industry after Mueller team disputes report: ‘Media errors are always anti-Trump’ | Fox News
The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller rocked the media industry Friday night by refuting a bombshell BuzzFeed News report that would have directly implicated President Trump in a crime – but instead provided critics of modern journalism with their latest round of ammunition. 
Alan Dershowitz: BuzzFeed report (and Mueller rebuke) a vivid example of “Get Trump” media mindset | Fox News
Media and Democrats wrongly rushed to judgment on BuzzFeed report claiming Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress — and then Mueller said the report was “not accurate.”
Donald Trump Takes Aim at Buzzfeed After Mueller Disputes Report President Ordered His Lawyer to Lie
“A very sad day for journalism, but a great day for our Country!”
Trump calls release of BuzzFeed report ‘a sad day for journalism’; Giuliani urges DOJ pursuit of leakers | Fox News
President Trump on Friday night slammed a BuzzFeed News report, which alleges the president has been implicated in a crime, saying its release marked a “very sad day for journalism” after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team released a rare statement claiming the outlet got its facts wrong.
Mueller’s office disputes BuzzFeed report that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress – CNNPolitics
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office disputed an explosive story from BuzzFeed News as “not accurate” Friday night, after the news outlet reported the President had directed his personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, for which Cohen was later prosecuted.
Washington Post: Mueller’s Office Caught Off Guard By BuzzFeed Report On Trump | HuffPost Australia
Special counsel’s office reportedly not aware it would be key part of the story.
BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president | TheHill
The news that Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress holds a striking lack of evidence.
Gregg Jarrett: BuzzFeed report with false attack on Trump is media malpractice | Fox News
The BuzzFeed News fiasco involving a report containing a false allegation that President Trump told his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress shows the credibility of the mainstream media in America is either dead or dying.
BuzzFeed: ‘No indication’ Cohen story disputed by Mueller is inaccurate | TheHill
BuzzFeed News doubled down on its defense of its report that President Trump ordered his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.


 

US Domestic Policy Reports


 

Trump’s missile defense plan is bad strategy
President Trump’s new missile defense plan is misguided. It will drain money from Pentagon priorities, provoke aggressive Chinese and Russian countermeasures, and fail to restrain large-scale nuclear attacks.
James Mattis Wasn’t Ready to Serve in a Democracy – Foreign Policy
After the tributes die down, the outgoing defense secretary will be remembered for recklessly expanding, and covering up, the country’s wars.
After years fighting terrorism, the SEALs turn their eyes toward fighting big wars
After years fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the SEALs are refocusing efforts to prepare for potentially larger conflicts, says the Navy’s second in command.
The Daily 202: 10 sobering quotes from the new National Intelligence Strategy – The Washington Post
The intelligence community aims to increase transparency after sustained attacks from the president.
Sorry, bad foreign policy isn’t a criminal offense
The New York Times recently reported that President Trump has, on a number of occasions, contemplated withdrawing from NATO. This is an important issue for…


Trump Associate Roger Stone Arrested, Charged On Seven Counts
Roger Stone, a longtime ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, has been arrested by the FBI and charged with seven criminal counts connected to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
The Despicable History of Roger Stone
After a half-century of dirty tricks, there’s finally the case of United States versus Roger Jason Stone, Jr.
‘What Does Putin Have On The President?’ Pelosi Asks Following Stone Indictment
“The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials… to subvert the will of the American people,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
The New Battle Over Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy | The National Interest
National security advisor John Bolton is increasingly isolated, but the president can ill afford to bleed allies. Rand Paul wants to see through the president’s prerogatives.
Don’t Believe the Doomsayers About Donald Trump | The National Interest
A very clear paper trail would be needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump ordered an obstruction of justice. And even then, unless there is something far more serious behind the obstruction, it will not amount to a politically impeachable offense.
Stormy truth about Trump’s chat with Putin | Comment | The Times
“President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian president Vladimir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other admin
The Trump Temperament and the Consequences of Crudeness | RealClearDefense
Time magazine did not choose Donald Trump as its person of the year in 2018, but it may do so this year. Trump ended last year facing criticism for announcing troop withdrawals from Syria and…
Inside the Mueller team’s decision to dispute BuzzFeed’s explosive story on Trump and Cohen – The Washington Post
The special counsel’s office did not realize the extent of what the story would allege before it was published.
Trump’s Contact With Russia Was Done in Plain Sight
His private meetings with Putin are an apt metaphor for their entire bizarre relationship.
Opinion | The Strange Persistent Troubling Russian Hang-Up of Donald Trump – The New York Times
Trump’s agenda in Europe is Putin’s agenda in Europe. Is that really a coincidence?
House Republicans Vote Overwhelmingly Against Trump Administration Lifting Sanctions on Putin-Linked Oligarch’s Companies
The Trump administration is expected to lift sanctions anyway.
The New Missile-Defense Policy Won’t Maker Us Safer – Defense One
Instead, it will encourage rogue states to nuke first in a conflict, and will increase the risk of escalation in a great-power war.
We’re well past the point of urging the press to do better. Something is seriously wrong
The news media in the United States is horribly, perhaps irrevocably, broken. The news media in the United States is horribly, perhaps irrevocably, broken. In the past 72 hours, there have been two major, all-consuming news cycles based on either inaccurate or outright false allegations. Equally distressing as the fact that the press promoted these stories despite obvious red flags is that some reporters continue to cling to the original bogus narratives. Because when it comes to accusations leveled against President Trump and conservatives, many in the nation’s largest and most powerful newsrooms are less arbiters of the truth and more active participants in the toxic, hyper-partisan culture wars. The first major news cycle came Thursday evening after BuzzFeed News published a report titled, “President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project.” The press went wild, enthusiastically repeating the story’s central claim, ignoring all the while that it is based entirely on the say-so of two anonymous sources who claim they’re familiar with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Newsrooms continued to parrot the BuzzFeed News article even after its authors contradicted each other over whether they had actually seen proof of the allegation made by their anonymous sources. The three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC News, dedicated an impressive 27 minutes Friday to covering the report. The talking heads at CNN and MSNBC used the word “impeach” roughly 200 times Friday morning and afternoon while discussing how they thought the article would play out for the White House. Laughably enough, newsrooms and pundits also referred to the story as a “ bombshell” while also leaning heavily on the “ if true” qualifier. Then came Friday evening. “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” Mueller’s office said in a statement. Good thing those newsrooms couched their coverage with the ironclad “if true” qualifier. Absurdly enough, some in the news media maintain that maybe the denial isn’t even a denial. Others are criticizing the Office of Special Counsel for seeking to correct the record. More still say the news industry is the real victim of BuzzFeed News’ reporting. “Those trying to tar all media today aren’t interested in improving journalism but protecting themselves,” said MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. “There’s a lot more accountability in media these days than in our politics. We know we live in a glass house, we hope the folks we cover are as self aware.”
Mueller coverage keeps missing its mark, as BuzzFeed debacle shows | TheHill
The media avalanche following BuzzFeed’s ‘scoop’ was more damaging to the image of the news industry than the report itself.
Giuliani says his team communicated with Mueller’s team on BuzzFeed News article, agreed much of it false | Fox News
President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani told Fox News on Monday that his team communicated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office about last week’s BuzzFeed News article alleging that Trump ordered his former lawyer attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress — and agreed a significant portion of it was false.
Mueller investigation: Russian pop star linked to Trump cancels US tour fearing he could be arrested | The Independent
A Russian pop star with close links to Donald Trump and who reportedly helped set up the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, has cancelled an upcoming US tour, with his agent citing fears he may be arrested by FBI agents working for Robert Mueller.
Emin Agalarov cancels US concert tour after not reaching testimony deal with Mueller and Congress – CNNPolitics
Emin Agalarov, the Russian pop star who initiated the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with members of Donald Trump’s campaign, canceled his upcoming US tour after failing to reach a deal with the special counsel’s office and Congress over the contours of his testimony.
‘Dead End’: Russian Pop Star Cancels U.S. Tour After Failed Deal With Mueller
Russian pop star Emin Agalarov has canceled a planned U.S. tour after a breakdown in talks with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Congress about possible testimony over his alleged involvement in …
‘Putin Knows a Lot More Than the American Public Knows’ About Trump’s Dealings With Russia, Says Ex-CIA Chief Brennan
“He [Trump] acts like he has an ulterior motive that is not apparent,” former CIA Director John Brennan said in an interview with MSNBC.
GOP lawmaker accuses Dems of ’empowering’ anti-Semitism | TheHill
A GOP lawmaker on Thursday accused House Democrats of “empowering” anti-Semitism by not speaking out against the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Video of Robert R. Reilly: Not What Went Wrong, but Why it Went Wrong – To Inform is to Influence
Not What Went Wrong, but Why it Went Wrong Watch his video here Robert R. Reilly is Director of the Westminster Institute. He has been on the board since its founding. In his 25 years of government service, he has taught at National Defense University (2007), and served in the Office of The Secretary of Defense, where he was Senior Advisor for…
The Americans Accused Of Spying

Over the last 10 years, nearly 50 Americans have been imprisoned on spy charges. As of January, six of them are still being held, in three different countries

 

Militia members sentenced to decades in prison in foiled plot to kill Muslims
Thee militia members convicted of taking part in a foiled plot to kill Muslims in southwest Kansas were sentenced Friday to decades in prison.


Trump lost. Period. – The Washington Post
The insane shutdown comes to an end, with no border wall in sight.
A long overdue end to a totally unnecessary shutdown – Los Angeles Times
It’s imperative to reach a deal on effective border security. That won’t happen if Trump stays wedded to his wall, and Democrats to defying him.
The Shutdown Is Great News for Russia – Defense One
The competition of democracy versus dictatorship is to a degree a contest of narratives.
FBI Agents Detail Shutdown’s Toll – Defense One
The FBI Agents Association is documenting the harms that the funding freeze have inflicted on investigations, travel, training, payments to …
Now Trump’s Shutdown Threatens Israel’s Security
The last thread of U.S.-Palestinian ties has been the American-trained and -equipped Palestinian security force, but Congress in its confusion is about to cut them off.